“The problem with our world is that we draw the circle of family too small.” -Mother Theresa
Parenting is hard. I look at pictures of my adorable kids, smiling or laughing or being silly, and my heart beams. However, the pictures don’t capture the moments before and after the smiles; the tantrums that seem to last forever, the non-stop screaming, the defiance that throws me off guard, the questions I don’t know the answers to. I want nothing but the best for my kids and do everything I can to prepare them to be happy, successful adults one day. But the doubt is always there… Am I doing this right? Oh man I totally handled that wrong. Why did I yell again? And the worst question, Am I a bad mom?
I have a masters degree, special certification in changing human behavior, and have spent the last 15 years of my life helping children with severe behavior challenges. Before having kids, I thought this would make handling any behavior issues my future kids may have easy task (not that my future angels would ever misbehave, of course). However, once these hypothetical children became real squirmy, distracted, fussy, adorable, little humans, I realized how wrong I was.
My background has taught me two things that every parent needs to know. These truths will give you hope for more enjoyable family moments, and more peace and confidence in the difficult ones.
You are not alone. If you have doubts like mine, please know that there are far more than just the two of us. I have spoken to hundreds of parents in my career and personal life, and have learned that we all experience this feeling. Even the mom who always has pristine makeup on, somehow doesn’t have spots all over her white shirt by the end of the day, and whose children show up in ironed clothes and perfectly combed hair will confess to me that she has no idea what she’s doing and is terrified she’s ruining her well-coiffed kids. Mom guilt is real, and we are all doing our very best, but many feel like they are failing most days. If this is you, the biggest mistake you can make is to think you’re alone and keep these thoughts and feelings to yourself. The more you share with others about what you’re going through, the more likely they will share their own similar experiences, and it’s so encouraging to know you’re not the only one out there!
You shouldn’t have to do it alone. Parenting is not an individual sport. I fully believe that it takes a village to raise a child. So far, my kids’ “village” has consisted of my husband and I, grandparents and aunts, wonderful home day care providers, baby-sitters, preschool and kindergarten teachers, gymnastics coaches, swim coaches, martial arts instructors, physical therapists, pediatricians, and many fellow behavior analysts to give me feedback and guidance. And my kids are only 4 and 6! Instead of putting pressure on myself to do and be all things to my kids, I’ve found such peace and joy in focusing on getting the right resources and support for me to make me a better mom so I never feel alone, and I have the confidence and skills to be the best mom I can be.
There is Hope! Discover Hope is here to help with all of your child’s behavioral needs. Contact us and let us know how we can help!